The initial announcements for The Original High where somewhat vague. Adam Lambert stated that the album would be a less campy and more serious pop album, though there was no real indicator of what it would sound like. Thankfully, the lead single Ghost Town is now here to fill in the blanks, and the answer is a bit of a surprise.
In an attempt to describe it in two words, Ghost Town is both misleading and surprising. It opens on the sound of a lone acoustic guitar with Lambert’s reverb-enhanced vocals on top, evoking all manner of depressing images before settling on the song’s main lyric— “my heart is a ghost town.” At this point, the guitar disappears and instead gives way to a house-style dance beat, over which Lambert repeats the main lyric alongside the song’s trademark whistling hook.
The contrast between the acoustic verses and house choruses acts as the defining feature of Ghost Town. The song constantly swaps between both modes before reaching the middle eight, which acts as an electronic build-up into one final chorus. The concept behind these contrasting sections is solid, but it’s also the reason the song eventually falls flat. By leaving the second verse with just the acoustic guitar, some extra claps and a simple drum pattern, the energy falls back to its starting point before the song’s final explosion after the middle eight, which leaves the song feeling like it never really goes anywhere. By incorporating the house elements into the second verse, the song could have been more consistent and ultimately more enjoyable.
However, the polished and more serious sound of the song suits Lambert. While Ghost Town isn’t the strongest choice for a lead single, it does give a good idea of where The Original High is heading, while also affirming that this step in a more serious direction is indeed beneficial.